Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Orakpo, DeMarcus Ware Each Looking To Build On Sack Numbers
ASHBURN – Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo has 25 career sacks, but when it comes to NFC East play, Orakpo hasn’t been as dominant.
He has only shared one against a divisional opponent. That came last year in the 59-28 loss to Philadelphia, when he and Andre Cartershared one on Michael Vick.
“Obviously in the division, man, sacks are a lot harder to come by,” Orakpo said. “I get out the division, that’s when I can get some, but in the division, that’s when I’m really lagging as far as getting there. … They know what they’re dealing with. We know what they’re dealing with as well and it’s just tough. I’ve just got to keep grinding through it and keep going through.”
Head coach Mike Shanahan believes Orakpo’s inability to sack a divisional quarterback is more a fluke of the numbers than any set pattern.
“Those things come in bunches,” Shanahan said. “He’s been very close. Everybody looks at the end result and he probably missed four or five sacks this year that he had guys right in the grasp of his hands. As he gets older, I think he’ll get those sacks. But he’s there. He’s putting pressure on quarterbacks and hopefully it comes this weekend.”
Orakpo has a team-high 5.5 sacks this season – one of several players tied for 19th in the league. The Redskins’ other outside linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan, has five. Though that may have changed the way a lot of offenses have to plan for Orakpo, now in his third year, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said for him, it just comes down to trusting his teammates in protection.
“You’ve got to go out there and play and know that your guys are going to battle with these guys, and they’re going to win some and we’re going to win some,” Romo said. “From my perspective, you have to trust the people that are around me and if they do their job, which I suspect they will, we’ll be all right.”
The Redskins face their own type of challenge in DeMarcus Ware, who is second in the league with 13 sacks and led the league with 15.5 all of last year. The challenge of stopping Ware again primarily falls on left tackle Trent Williams, who was beaten three times for a sack last season but never in the teams’ first meeting on Sept. 26.
That, Williams said, is likely to infuriate the Cowboys linebacker.
“It’s tricky, because I know he’s coming after me a little more now after the last game,” Williams said. “I’m coming in with the same open mind that I’ve got to be almost perfect. I’ve got to be perfect.”